With the 2014 FIFA World Cup less than two weeks away, there is serious concern that Brazil is not ready. The controversial choice to let Brazil host the World Cup is turning out to be FIFA’s nightmare, as they currently find themselves in a worst-case scenario. It has become very clear that Brazil was not the right country to host the games, and had FIFA paid attention to the warning signs, this situation could have been avoided.
Time magazine estimated that more than $11 billion has been spent on World Cup preparations. Yet as of June 1st, only one-third of non-stadium facilities were ready. This poses a serious problem in terms of transportation and accommodations for visitors.
More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the matches, but how they will safely get there is still unknown. Retired Brazilian soccer legend Luis Nazario Ronaldo has criticized Brazil’s chaotic preparations for the World Cup: “I think, primarily, serious planning was lacking for everything to have been delivered. We had time. Seven years.”
Back in 2007, when Brazil was awarded the right to host the 2014 cup, they were in the midst of an economic upswing. President Lula da Silva believed that the games would show the world how much of a superpower Brazil had become, and show its citizens that they are on the path to becoming a developed country.
While such ambition is not strange for politicians, Lula da Silva forgot that the best way to showcase Brazil’s capabilities is by giving its citizens more economic and social freedom. Instead, he chose to undertake a $1 billion project rooted in corruption.
While Brazil’s economy is certainly expanding, widespread poverty is, too. The income gap between the rich and poor is one of the largest in Latin America, and many communities lack access to schools and hospitals.
Demonstrators from Brazil’s Workers’ Party have been protesting their government’s use of money and taxation. Using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, Brazilians have been exposing the injustices surrounding the World Cup. Pictures of fancy stadiums juxtaposed against urban slums, or “favelas,” are circulating around the Internet.
Young Brazilian protestors can been seen holding signs with slogans such as “FIFA go home” and “We don’t need the World Cup, we need health and education.”
Although the government has attempted to hide these injustices, in today’s age of social media, it is almost impossible. The poorest citizens are getting heavily taxed in order to provide funds for the World Cup, yet they do not have access to basic education.
While the government has tried to convince its citizens of the benefits of hosting the World Cup, they have not been able to follow through with their promises. The bullet train between Rio and Sao Paulo that was promised in 2009 has now been pushed back until 2020.
With an $11 billion budget, it would be reasonable to assume that Brazil would be ready to host the games. But they are far from it. Not all of this money has gone directly to the World Cup. Notorious for their corruption, government officials have pocketed millions of the taxpayers’ dollars, further proving that Brazil was not the right choice to host.
Had Brazil been better prepared, the World Cup could have brought positive attention to the country. But instead the attention is focused on their lack of security and infrastructure.
Following their economic upswing, the government should have invested its money in hospitals, infrastructure and education for the struggling population. Undertaking a project as large as the World Cup requires organization and support that Brazil simply does not have. The decision to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup was a decision that the government will come to regret.